You might already know about the incredible tardigrades — they are tiny eight-legged water creatures and they are as tough as tanks and they are quite ugly to look at. They can survive for 30 years in a freezer and live in space and other excessive temperatures. But a new study paints things in bleaker terms: these creatures will outlive all of us. They will be around for 10 billion years. They will survive until the Sun dies.
A new study is published in Scientific Reports, astrophysicists at Oxford and Harvard University calculated the probability of objects in space colliding into the Earth, boiling the oceans dry, and killing everything.
The key finding, write the scientists, is that no space phenomena are strong enough to dry up the oceans completely, and so the tardigrades can make do with what’s left. There are a few known asteroids that could end everything, but none of these are expected to hit Earth. A supernova could get the job done, but it’s probably not going to explode near us. It’s also unlikely that gamma ray bursts — which are even stronger than supernovas — are going to wipe us all out.